Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miami Bicentennial Park Soccer Stadium

MVB loves the PortMiami stadium proposal. Of all of the site options, it may not be the most logical, but it is the most exciting. Unfortunately, most elected mayors and commissioners, i.e., the ones that count, are against putting the 25,000 seat stadium at the port for a host of reasons which in one way or another will put the kabosh on the idea. 

That got us to thinking, why not consider putting it in the Bicentennial Park basin next to the AAA, home of the Miami Heat? Our proposal also suggests blocking off the deep basin from the bay, pumping it out and putting in a two or three story parking garage (NOAA and other boating depth charts show the slip has an average depth of 28-feet) where it is now and building the stadium over it. This design reclaims more open park space, something the city is in dire need. We would also suggest keeping the east end zone open to catch the bay breeze and NOT building any version of a roof. A roof will block views of the downtown skyline and interfere with the natural cooling that comes with the wind coming off the bay. This design hearkens back to the old roofless Orange Bowl with its open east end zone. This design also allows the slated river walk that will create a pedestrian-friendly walkway from the Miami River to the north end of Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami. Dockage would allow people to attend the games (or anything else inside the stadium-- like UltraFest*) by boat. The sublime design also incorporates the architectural idea that less is more. 

Update: 5/8/14
Since this idea made the scene, it has gotten rightly criticized for usurping limited park space. To assuage those who are against putting the stadium on the this site, why not accommodate them by turning the west facade into an urban mountain biking and hiking trail? Serpentine routes for bikes and hiking (with bridges/tunnels) through dense jungle forests of palms, colorful flowers, and native plants on a sloping in-fill towards Biscayne Blvd would be a totally unique and maybe even a global first. A gently sloping paved serpentine ramp with rest stops (and to die-for views) would also be available for the handicapped, elderly, and those just looking for a "walk in the woods." 

Update 5/21/14:
Today's Miami Herald ran an article about rare south Florida butterflies fighting to survive. May we humbly suggest that the bike/hiking trails mentioned above include plantings of native habitat to help these little guys survive. Scientists can try repopulating the species there as well as the "mosquito infested hardwood island in Biscayne National Park." It would be muy cool to see them flitting about the stadium mountain as you bike or walk through the urban jungle (see picture):

*UltraFest at the stadium would cut down on noise and keep the parks open for families and those not into the bacchanalia going on inside the stadium. It would also dramatically improve crowd control. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Beckham Miami Soccer Stadium

Please click to enlarge.
Excuse me, but as much as I love Arquitectonica's work, I'm not swooning over their design for the PortMiami soccer stadium. Remove the "roof" and put the cost of building it into adding more seats. 25,000 isn't enough and will only require additional construction down the road.
I'd also put those extra seats on the side of the field facing downtown Miami, either on another level or sloping further back and upward like the sublime Rose Bowl. In MVB's approach, the stadium would be top heavy toward the east and shallower on the western edge to reveal as much as the downtown skyline as possible. In other words, it would be a tilted bowl with the soccer field sliding down toward the other end.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The case for building Beckham's soccer stadium at PortMiami

Please click images to enlarge.

The first time we heard David Beckham's first choice for a new MLS stadium was at PortMiami we thought, are you nuts? Gridlock is a common occurrence in downtown Miami as it is whenever something major is happening there. You don't want to be caught anywhere near the American Airlines Arena when the Miami Heat are playing there. Or anything is booked there. When the Arsht Center a few blocks up the street has got something going on at the same time, fagedabou getting anywhere on time downtown. It's like being caught in the Bermuda Triangle with no chance of escaping. 

Then Michael Putney, one of the area's great newsmen, reported that All Aboard Florida promised to run trains into PortMiami for soccer fans if the stadium is built there. Hmm... That means anyone living north of the stadium-- anyone as far away as Orlando-- could hop a train to see the game. This would only happen at this venue because the Dolphins and Marlins stadiums aren't anywhere near mass transit. As far as we're concerned, this is a game changer for seriously considering this location as the future home of the Miami Whatevers (we're partial to Miami United because it implies-- whether or not it's true-- we as a group of people actually are united and not separated by our need to hang on to our differences and allegiances to our "home" countries and, of course, Manchester United was Beckham's home team).  

As usual for MVB, we would expect our elected officials to require that the stadium has an iconic design. We favor an "less-is-more," open-air "bowl" that cantilevers out over the water and the train tracks leading into the port. Views of the downtown skyline should be breathtaking. Restaurants and cafes would face the water and docks. In this site, it becomes more unique in that fans could arrive by boat. 

But what about the other half of the population, the ones who live south of the train tracks? Well, they can take MetroRail, switch to MetroMover and then walk across Biscayne Boulevard and over the bridge to the stadium. Not perfect, but a little walking might be the only exercise some of these people may get so it's all good. 

A final inevitable solution to solving the traffic and parking nightmare downtown is quite radical. Although removing the parking islands in the middle of Biscayne Blvd has been talked about for decades, may we suggest that removing and realigning the northbound lanes become priority. In our approach, Bayfront Park would replace those lanes which would be moved westward (replacing the parking island). Finding new land for parks in downtown Miami is pretty much impossible but suddenly, acres and acres can now be added to the existing park (see before and after pictures below). In this rendering, we have planted royal poinciana trees along the western boundary of the park. This affords a beautiful and natural buffering zone between the hustle and bustle of Biscayne Blvd and the tranquility of the park. And since this will be a major endeavor that will take months to complete, we are humbly suggesting that an underground parking garage blocks long be dug at the same time beneath the new park land and road. It's possible thousands of cars could be parked there out of sight. This extra parking will help support Bayside, downtown, and the stadium. 
Biscayne Blvd and Bayfront Park today.

Biscayne Blvd and Bayfront Park tomorrow.

A Better Biscayne Blvd

A final inevitable solution to solving the traffic and parking nightmare downtown is quite radical. Although removing the parking islands in the middle of Biscayne Blvd has been talked about for decades, may we suggest that removing and realigning the northbound lanes become priority. 

In our approach, Bayfront Park would replace those lanes which would be moved westward (replacing the parking island). Finding new land for parks in downtown Miami is pretty much impossible but suddenly, acres and acres can now be added to the existing park (see before and after pictures below). In this rendering, we have planted royal poinciana trees along the western boundary of the park. This affords a beautiful and natural buffering zone between the hustle and bustle of Biscayne Blvd and the tranquility of the park. And since this will be a major endeavor that will take months to complete, we are humbly suggesting that an underground parking garage blocks long be dug at the same time beneath the new park land and road. It's possible thousands of cars could be parked there out of sight. This extra parking will help support Bayside, downtown, and the arena. 
Biscayne Blvd and Bayfront Park today.

Biscayne Blvd and Bayfront Park tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

CLOG: Miami

One of our intrepid correspondent's essay got picked-up by the influential architectural publication CLOG. Each quarterly issue "explores, from multiple viewpoints and various means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now." D.C. Copeland's A Cluster of Brown Dwarfs takes the less fawning and more critical stance in the issue that, although the region has a host of "starchitect's" buildings here, none of their completed projects or those in the foreseeable future are iconic: 

"Instead of landmark buildings— the supernovas in the SoFla starchitect constellation— palm trees, bikinis, beaches, and sweat stains will become the sole identifiers for the region. Of course, no city needs a landmark building but it's nice to have one, especially if the burg has pretensions of greatness. If SoFla is to be taken seriously as the “Gateway of the Americas,” it should demand more from the starchitects circling the current building boom. Maybe Gehry or SOM will come to the rescue when their designs for the arts building and train station are revealed. Until then, of the brown dwarfs, a possible contender as an example of “destination architecture” is Hadid’s parking garage since it reflects her futuristic, other-worldly style. While it stands out from the crowd, it’s only a parking garage— unless, of course, as a resident in the cluster, you’re proud to be living in a region famous for its parking garages."

That said, Miami and Miami Beach should be thankful that such a well-respected publication sought to highlight the region for this issue. It's a visual tour de force and includes essays by such luminaries in the field as architect AndrĂ©s Duany, a founder of the New Urbanism  movement and the guiding hand behind the Miami21 zoning code whose essay is titled "Miami is the Best City of its Age;" Chad Oppenheim (whose work we love); Terrence Riley (an architect and once director of the old Miami Art Musuem who we took to task for choosing Herzog & de Meuron as architects for the new Miami Art Museum); and a host of other academics and practitioners of the art and science of the profession.  CLOG: Miami is a unique touchstone to the region's architectural past, present, and future and is worth a buy for anyone interested in our man-made skyline and the power and politics of architecture.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Dawntown Miami announces Miami Marine Stadium Floating Stage winners

Please click images to enlarge.

Unfortunately, Verticus' entry didn't make the cut but here it is anyway. It's a "fun homage to the Grand Dame." MVB has argued for years that Miami and the Beaches lack any building that could be labeled "destination architecture." Only after revisiting the Miami Marine Stadium (which we were lobbying since 2007 to restore) for this competition did we realize we were wrong. We've had such a structure since 1963 and it's the Marine Stadium. When it opened, it had the largest unsupported poured concrete canopy in the world. Probably still does. Only in our research for this competition did we learn that iconic roof line also has a descriptive name rooted in mathematics: "hyperbolic paraboloid." Who knew that anything called a hyperbolic paraboloid could look so sexy? The City of Miami should include the building in its official seal, put it in front of the palm tree. 

Re the Miami Marine Stadium, we have also been advocating for years that the City consider finding deep pocketed companies that would help pay for the restoration in exchange for naming rights. One of those companies we suggested was Red Bull with the idea that the stadium would become a marine and air arena. The Red Bull Miami Marine and Air Stadium would host the annual start and finish of the unlimited hydroplane and air racing seasons. 

During our research for the Dawntown Miami competition we got to thinking again about the stadium and what is happening to Virginia Key-- which is never very good when it comes to people who have a problem with thinking outside of the box. With that in mind we would like to suggest that our proposal for the air races also include on the east side of the Miami Marine Stadium basin-- the section that is undeveloped-- a permanent runway/drag strip. Yes, we can already hear the uproar over this idea (it's as loud as two top fuel dragsters smoking their tires at the start of a race)  but it isn't as radical as it seems. The basin is 6,000 feet long (try digging one of those today and you'll end up ostracized for being an insensitive, exploitive despoiler of the environment before the ink has dried on your proposal). We're suggesting building a (insert correct buzz word here:) "low-impact" 2,000-foot runway/dragstrip (see below) directly across from the Marine Stadium with seating for a few thousand on a grassy hill the same length as the stadium. The back side of the hill will drop off precipitously to accommodate an extension of the new "mountain" bike path and would be the steepest and most difficult part of that course. The "hill" would be constructed from the Port of Miami tunnel and channel deepening projects fill. The runway, of course, is for the air races-- a unique plus when you consider most of the airfields for the air races are off site. 

Please click image to enlarge.

Now, about those drag races. Miami needs one for all of those who like racing their cars in this county but don't have a place to do it legally and safely. Yes, there is one on the west end of the Opa Locka airport but it's temporary. Since no one wants a dragstrip in their backyard-- and who can blame them because of the noise pollution?-- a place to race that is a mile or more from the closest human resident happens to exist on Virginia Key across from the Marine Stadium. Using prefab noise abatement walls-- like those lining our freeways-- along the waterline behind the mangroves might make "moot" any issues re noise pollution. The raised natural berm/seating area on the other side of the runway/dragstrip should buffer sound too. To keep things simple and costs down, the pits area for both air and drag racers would be on the far southern end of the strip behind the starting line-- no extra paving for a separate area (this is an eco-friendly project by God!). Movable concrete construction barriers would separate lanes and a single return road. Best yet, the sloping seating area opposite the Marine Stadium could be used to sell "cheap seats" for boat, air racing or other events. Finally, the natural grass berm seating area would front the drag racing finish line, a line that could if need be, be drawn across an 1/8th mile track (660-feet) instead of the traditional 1/4 mile. Spectator parking for the drag races (and air and sea races) uses the spaces already available at the Marine Stadium and proposed parking garages (drag racing fans will have to actually walk around the basin to get to their seats-- hey, it's called exercise. They can walk past the pits to watch the crews working on the racing cars-- and planes-- in an informal, down-home friendly atmosphere). National and International TV coverage for the air races and the drag races can take place on TOP of that sexy Marine Stadium hyperbolic paraboloid.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Best of Miami Vision Blogarama in Black & White

Please click image to enlarge.

Due to popular demand (really), we've compiled a "Best Of" Miami Vision Blogarama. You can order it here and relive some of the fun and sorrow of yesteryear. Thanks for your enthusiasm, encouragement, and condolences since our last post. For those who still have jobs and can afford the best, the full-color version is available here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MVB's Final Post

Most of our hopes and dreams bit the dust with the county's ratification of the "Global Agreement." We feel like that fallen warrior from ancient Greece. We didn't put that smile on his face, but I'm sure he would have appreciated what we did to his middle finger. This is our last gesture to local politics and our first step in acknowledging what unchecked hubris can bring: lots of sound and fury signifying nothing. It's a bittersweet ending for us but we exit the blogosphere with a song.* Good luck to us all.

UpDate (12/23/2010): Something we advocated 4 years ago (2006 post) is finally coming around: using the rail connection between the Port of Miami and the Hialeah rail yards as the link was designed to be used when the Port was opened in 1963. Look to 2013 for this embrace of common sense.
UpDate (12/25/08): We're still over and out but we couldn't let this pass. Our favorite police spokesperson of all time, Lt. Bill Schwartz of the Miami police department was kind enough to bestow upon all of us a Christmas gift-- after a long absence-- of his criminally inspired bon mots. His latest can be found here with a WSVN-Fox video link.

UpDate (9/26/09): Friends of the Marine Stadium get Jimmy Buffett to endorse their (and our) cause:

UpDate (1/12/08): Before we threw in the towel, Verticus wrote an article regarding the fate of the Miami Marine Stadium for Propeller magazine, the official publication of the 5,000 member American Power Boat Association. It's in the January issue and urges its readers to petition Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to fulfill his unmet 6-year-old promise of saving the venerable, architectural wonder. If you feel the same way we do, you can contact him at: 305-250-5300, or Fax: 305-854-4001, or

UpDate (10/7/08): The City of Miami historic preservation board finally saw the light: by a vote of 8-0, it agreed to designate the Miami Marine Stadium worthy of preservation as an historic site. Let's see the visionless try to knock it down now!

UpDate (4/27/09): The Miami Marine Stadium becomes one of eleven buildings on the National Trust for Historic Preservation thanks in part to the efforts of Miami architect Jorge Hernandez and Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium. Let's see our visionless bureaucrats try to touch the old lady now.

UpDate (3/24): Today Philip Levine, a wealthy Democrat , announced he's scoping out the scene for a potential run against County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. According to experts in the Miami Herald story, he doesn't stand a chance because he isn't Hispanic. We say he does. We believe there are enough people out there from both sides of the language camp who will vote for him simply because they're fed up with local government's big spending and its disconnect from the effects of the rising cost of living on their lives. Earlier, we contacted Tomas Regalado in hopes that he would run against Alvarez but he declined because he couldn't mount a war chest large enough to take on the mayor's well-funded campaign (estimated by Michael Putney to be around $2 million). Perhaps Levine will do it on his own, as the newspaper article implied, Bloomberg style. What with the county commission's last ray of hope, Katy Sorenson, moving to the Dark Side with her vote for the "Global Agreement," we can only hope. As we continue to do that Norman Braman's legal action against the "Global Agreement" will bear fruit. Even if Braman is successful, we hope Levine will enter the race. As we have suggested to Regalado and Levine, we would be happy to offer our support, including re-starting this sad little blog. In that regard, we offer up this campaign slogan for the cause: "Stop the Madness!" (UpDate 6/17): Philip Levine gets cold feet. Only one person will oppose Alvarez for county mayor-- Helen B. Williams, a retired school teacher with probably the world's smallest campaign fund.

UpDate (3/29): Hope springs eternal. Buried in the back of the Miami Herald, it was reassuring to read that "Government lawyers failed to strike down significant parts of auto dealer Norman Braman's legal challenge to the $3 billion megaplan." This ruling by Miami-Dade Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. is a legal blessing on the merits of Braman's case and strengthens his legal challenge for the May hearing. Way to go, Norman!

UpDate (4/1): Tomas Regalado announces his run for Mayor of Miami. That's a good thing. Another sign that things might be looking up: A recent poll shows Miami-Dade county voters are basically fed up with county Mayor Alvarez's "global agreement" by a whopping 59%. Now if only someone will step up to the plate with enough bucks to kick him and his insane plan out of office.

UpDate (5/8): Although Circuit Judge Pedro Echarte did not find government leaders "illegally secretive" when they came up with the "global agreement," he allowed Braman's lawsuit to proceed. We think a more correct term for what the visionless did down at city hall would have been "excessively secretive." Of course, we do have a state law called "government in the sunshine," and we expect it may come into play later on irregardless of the abuse of the public trust Braman's team uses to win its case.

UpDate (8/27/08): Carlos Alvarez and all incumbents on the Miami-Dade County commission are re-elected. How embarrassing.

More embarrassment: The "experts," AKA city planners/consultants, came back with the latest designs for Virginia Key. Despite an earlier charette where the public overwhelmingly agreed that the Marine Stadium should be saved, it is glaringly absent from this latest iteration. In its place: Two 5-story parking garages, a "dry-stack" boat storage for 700 boats, 41,000sf of "small scale retail," and Olympic-sized swimming pools among other sundry items. The city and its experts have effectively destroyed one of the few things that makes Miami unique in the world and replaced it with the pedestrian. The Marine Stadium was the only one of its kind on the planet. Now, because it might be "cost prohibitive" to fix-up, we have become a lesser city, less unique, and a people less worthy of being taken seriously, at being looked upon by others as blessed, lucky, special and cool.

UpDate (9/11/08): Braman loses on lawsuit. Judge says what the county put together "serves the public good." Braman says he will appeal.

UpDate (9/19/08): Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium pulled off a major coup: they got the World Monuments Fund to endorse saving the Marine Stadium. This couldn't have happened at a better time because The City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board will discuss and possibly make a determination of the final historic designation of the Miami Marine Stadium at their meeting on Tuesday, October 7, at 3:00 PM, City of Miami Commission Chambers. Failure to do so should make them look like idiots-- or at least suspiciously on the take. If you got the time, try to stop by to make your voice heard.

UpDate (2/27/09): We predict the Miami Herald will join other major dailies such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle P-I, Rocky Mountain News, Baltimore Examiner, Cincinnati Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune and Journal Register who have or will go out of business or, at best, file for bankruptcy by the end of 2009. The fact that it has hung on as long as it has in this market is amazing. What with more than half of the population speaking Spanish as its first language, its downward spiral of subscriptions has pretty much been going on for the good part of the last decade. Only recently has it accelerated its demise due in part to a younger demographic not accustomed to getting its news "off the sidewalk"-- as Veronica Mars describes that archaic practice-- significant lost advertising revenue-- a phenomena felt by dailies across the country-- and the most recent last ditch attempt to increase profits by hiking subscription prices by 40%. We predict McClatchy will sell the building on the bay and become a digital purveyor of the goods-- for a price. No more stinkin' free websites for you! Which makes sense. It'll be cheaper in the long run and much more ecological-- think of the trees that will be saved! Hopefully the company will retain its investigative reporters. Without them, Miami-- and all US cities-- are up for grabs with the most corrupt and sociopathic elected officials getting carte blanche at the feeding trough of taxpayer dollars. Subscribing to that business model becomes a patriotic duty. If it instead emerges on the Net as a dumbed-down version of its former self-- like it's already doing with added focus on youth, media personalities, and a decidedly less than AP style to writing that emphasizes the vernacular and, at times, callous rudeness, we'll pass.

You can keep track of the death throes of the American newspaper at For those who wonder what it will be like to start their day without getting up and going through the morning ritual of picking up the news "off the sidewalk," MVB will be sponsoring a 12-Step Program for those addicted to newspapers. The first affirmation is this: I WANT to get up in the morning even if the newspaper is no longer there.

UpDate (3/17/09): The Seattle Post-Intilligencer, once one of America's oldest newspapers, publishes its last newsprint edition before becoming the first major US daily to go digital.

UpDate (10/16/10): Because of our utter frustration with the way things went south politically here, we haven't updated in a while. Since our final post in December 2007, the tunnel not only got approved but construction has begun on widening the causeway to accommodate the tunnel lanes. Still, we find it interesting to report today that according to the Miami Herald, the Port of Miami received $22M from the U.S. DOT to upgrade the port's existing rail line that connects it to the western Miami rail yards, something we have been advocating (as an alternative to digging a truck tunnel) since this blog was founded in 2006 ( Now, instead of reading the official port stance that the rail line wasn't necessary (, it's now something to make port director Bill Johnson "super excited" because it will lead to "more international trade and more jobs."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Architecture God Has Spoken: Publix on the Bay Makes My Chosen Building List!

It's a freaking supermarket for crying out loud! Can you imagine? Reminds me of the work of the architects from the planet with all of those flying saucers. I absolutely love it and wonder why I don't see more of this kind of stuff on Earth. Carlos Zapata is the architect. Works out of New York City. Owned by Publix Super Markets, Publix on the Bay opened in 1998 and is located in South Miami Beach at 20th Street and West Ave. This freestanding 47,000 square foot store has two levels of parking (220 spaces) on top of the building. It has a state-of-the-art "people mover" to take customers and their loaded baskets on a sloping treadmill from the ground level to the parking levels. The store also has an elevator for access to the parking areas. The overall building appearance, particularly the unusual facade, has made the store the architectural landmark of South Florida.

And it's a freaking supermarket for cying out loud!

I love it. If I had to shop, I'd do it here everyday. And ol' Carlos, if he keeps this up, he's got a seat right next to Me in Heaven. Well, actually next to my Son and Gehry-- if he rethinks that "accident" on Lincoln Road.